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Norway sends soldiers to oil and gas plants after Nord Stream leaks

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s military said on Monday it had sent soldiers to help protect major oil and gas processing plants on land, as part of a broader effort to boost security amid suspicions that the sabotage caused leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines last week.

Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines burst on September 26, leaking gas into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark and Sweden. Seismologists recorded explosions in the area and police in several countries have launched investigations.

Norway, Europe’s biggest gas supplier and a major oil exporter, last week deployed its air and naval forces to patrol offshore oil fields and announced it would receive help from Britain, Germany and France to do so.

At the request of the Norwegian police, the Norwegian National Guard, a rapid mobilization force, began Monday to deploy troops to plants responsible for processing and exporting oil and gas.

Although the Norwegian government has said it was not aware of any specific threats to oil and gas infrastructure, it deemed it prudent to beef up security and tried to allay workers’ concerns.

Among the onshore facilities given police and military protection on Monday were the Kollsnes and Nyhamna gas export terminals, the Kaarstoe gas and condensate plant and the Mongstad oil refinery.

An armed forces spokesman declined to say how many soldiers were deployed, citing security concerns.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Ed Osmond)

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